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So What Does A Recruiter Actually Do?

Accounting and finance people often ask me – ‘So, what do you ACTUALLY do?’ I respond by asking how much time they have to listen to me. There is a lot that a recruiter does behind the scenes which people don’t see. This is where the magic happens. In accounting and finance recruitment, you need a great understanding of businesses, industries and people to find the perfect employee for an organisation. Any given day can be intensely gratifying and equally soul destroying.

People say that ‘no day is the same’ in their job. I think this is particularly true in recruitment. On a given day last week, I was wearing a high vis vest and getting a tour of a bed factory in the morning. I was sipping a flat white with a CFO of a listed company in the afternoon and discussing his hiring needs. I had a handful of interviews and a lot of phone calls in between.

Let me break these three things down for you.

Firstly, the factory tour in a high vis vest. This is just one example of how I intimately work with businesses to understand their DNA. You can probably find an OK employee without this thorough understanding. Especially in accounting and finance, to find the best employee who’s the perfect fit requires a far more detailed understanding of the business and how they tick. As a result, I have a deep understanding of the Auckland economy and how each industry contributes to it. I have a new found appreciation of how products have been produced and by whom. For example, I know where the ingredients in my cereal come from and who distributes and markets them. I know how a mattress is put together and just how many hotels in the city buy those beds. I know the occupancy of some of those hotels and who supplies them with the tiny little soaps in the shower. I’m constantly amazed by these fascinating little details and how they fit into our daily lives.

Next, the flat white in the boardroom. You would think that the CFO of a listed company would know exactly what he needs. You’ll be surprised at how few people know exactly what they need. I engage with some highly intelligent individuals and help them recruit into their teams. We recruiters don’t just find the right person for the job, we offer a lot of market insight and advise them on their needs. Business leaders see me as the employment expert in Auckland’s accounting and finance space. I essentially contribute a cog in the wheel of success for that business. Great feeling, right?! You also come to realise that these people are just like you and I. People with strengths, weaknesses, dreams, pressure points. They’re people that like to trail run or play golf on the weekends. In a year’s time that very CFO might come to me wanting a career change and who better placed to help them than me? Through all my engagements with him, we got to know one another well. We trust each other and we respect each other. That’s a long-term relationship right there.

It’s back to the office for some interviews. When you interview as many accounting and finance professionals as I do, you quickly build your network and gain a bird’s eye view of the market. This is amplified by my 20+ colleagues who’re all recruiting in Auckland’s accounting and finance profession all day, every day. When I interview people, they open up their lives to me and I share their highs and lows. Family members get sick or pass away, companies close down, relationships break up and then of course there is all the good stuff too – engagements happen, babies are born, amazing holidays are had. I hear about all of these things. We laugh, we cry, we listen and we have some tough conversations together. This can be both elating and soul destroying.  Not everyone communicates or is honest with you. I get let down all the time and I too have to let people down. You really do journey with people as a recruiter. The best part being when someone gets the job they want and deserve. Jobs can change lives, and to have a hand in that is a great feeling.

The phone never stops ringing and it’s anyone and everyone wanting a piece of you – mornings, afternoons, nights and weekends. This job is about people full stop. People are complex, the business world is complex and life is complex. This job is about trying to simplify the complexity and it is ALL about the relationships you build along the way.

So, yes, this is a lot of what I ACTUALLY do. I haven’t even got to the actual ‘recruitment’ part yet but that’s a blog for another day.

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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